Gray Matter App Assists with Dementia Care

GrayMatters icon

GrayMatters App

Although dementia is not my specialty, prior work in long term care settings and recent personal experience with my late mother has given me many opportunities with individuals who were in different stages of the disease.

The recent experience with my mother, afforded me options of using my iPad with her. The iPad interface was intuitive to her, easily  accessed and viewed  even with diminishing vision. Memory, joke or tongue twister apps, taking pictures of her and displaying current family pictures aided communication at times, showing that more could be retrieved given time and additional cues. As the disease progressed her long term memory regressed to earlier days and events. I now wish I had used a story telling app such as GrayMatter app  to facilitate her recall.

Gray Matter – Reaching Beyond Dementia app (free with in-app purchases) is described as an interactive life storybook, paired with music & games. The app aids patients and families preserve past memories, as well as today’s moments. The developers believe ” that people with dementia are “still here,” as Grey Matters taps into the abilities that remain to keep individuals engaged and connected.”

The app allows you to do the following:

• Create a Personalized Life Storybook:
Customize “My Life” story pages for your loved one, filled with long-term memories from his/her life. Upload your own family photos, accompanied by simple text and voice narration to evoke memories from younger years & foster communication.

GrayMatters pic2• Record & Share New Memories:
Instantly capture special moments that occur while using the app together – whether a sparked memory or a smile. Share these “I Remember” videos with family members on the spot.

• Reflect on the World:
Look through pre-loaded “My World” story pages filled with universal content that appeals to your loved one’s interests based on generation–such as entertainers, films, history & pop culture from the 1930s, 40s & 50s. Enjoy 6 free content packs – more content is available for purchase within the app.


• Create a Custom Reminder:
This audiovisual reminder, containing photos, text and voice narration, can reassure your loved one about his/her surroundings. The reminder can be tailored to questions most often asked by an individual, helping to avoid embarrassment and quell anxiety.

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• Listen to Music & Play Games:
Create custom playlists from your iTunes library for your loved one to enjoy while viewing story pages. Music can be an incredibly powerful tool in drawing out long-term memories. In addition, play a game of memory cards together featuring familiar content from your loved one’s life.

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• Create Multiple Profiles:
Grey Matters works very well in both a private, home setting or a larger care facility because you can upload individual profiles for each person in your care. Each user’s personalized story pages, music playlist, profile and My World content will be saved for later use.

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There are many story telling apps that have recording, video, picture and text features, however this app appears specially suited for individuals with dementia.

The Huffington Post ” GrayMatter App Aims to Help People Connect to Love Ones Suffering from Dementia” provides more background information and resources on dementia that is worth reading.

Another app mentioned to support individuals with dementia is the free app Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias Daily Companion providing strategies and resources for caretakers.

More for your OT mTool Kit.



About Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, ATP, CATIS

OTR/L with more than 35 years experience in pediatrics, school based therapy and adult rehabilitation. Masters of Science in Adaptive Education/Assistive Technology with 20 years experience in AT in education of elementary, middle school, secondary, post secondary students and work environments for adult clients. A RESNA Assistive Technology Practitioner with ACVREP CATIS credentials, AOTA Specialty Certification in Low Vision, USC Davis Executive Certificate in Home Modifications, servicing adults and students with disabilities in employment, education, and home environments. A 2020 graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham Low Vision Certification Program.
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